Van Wilder: Freshman Year – Unrated – DVD Review
By Jeff Swindoll Jul 25, 2009, 13:49 GMT
The man. The myth. The beginning. It’s freshman year at Coolidge College and Van Wilder (Jonathan Bennett) is ready to party. To his dismay, all the girls have taken a vow of chastity and an uptight Dean (Kurt Fuller) rules the school. Van embarks on an epic crusade to land the campus hottie, Kaitlin (Kristin Cavallari) and liberate his school from sexual oppression and party dysfunction. No cheerleader will be ...more
The best place to begin is at the beginning. Well, maybe not so much as this tepid ta-ta comedy goes back to when Van Wilder started his college hijinks. A naughty cover promises us some titillation (he he) but it really doesn’t follow through as much as you might like.
Van Wilder (Jonathan Bennett) has just graduated from high school and is following the family tradition and going to Coolidge College. However, he finds that the school is not the bacchanalian blow-out that he was hoping for.
The campus is run with an iron hand by Dean Reardon (Kurt Fuller), a military man who hates the elder Wilder (Linden Ashby) and by default now hates the younger.
Even worse, all the girls are chaste as the driven snow as they’ve taken vows of chastity. Van decides to take it upon himself to shake up the staid campus and has his eyes on Kaitlin (Kristin Cavallari), the girlfriend of a rival.
Did the Van Wilder “franchise” really need another entry? I’ve stayed away for the most part, but it seems that when you’ve runt out of ideas you head back to the beginning (not that anyone was asking you to) and make a prequel.
Even National Lampoon appears to have had their name removed as the other films featured that moniker before the titles… not that it is a sure sign of quality entertainment mind you. The film does follow the usual college frat flick genre “greatest hits.” So we do get nudity, drug and drink jokes, potty humor, and Van pining after the campus hottie who pays him no heed until she uncharacteristically falls for the lug.
However, those bits are played with so ineptitude that they’re even done poorly for a genre whose expectations are low to begin with. Ryan Reynolds was too long in the tooth to return to the role, but a glance at the script would’ve kept him away as well.
Van Wilder: Freshman Year is presented in anamorphic widescreen (1.85:1) and is enhanced for 16x9 televisions. Special features include “Creating the Legend” about making the film. The cast and crew had a better time making it than I did watching it. There’s also a commentary with director Harv Glazer and the cast. “Going Balls Out” is about the endowed bulldog.
The “Coolidge College Orientation Video” has the cast in character talking about the school. “Decatur” is a parody video with Cavallari spoofing her other roles. “Teacher’s Pets” has the gals of the film gushing over it. “Van’s Party Supplies” is about the props, “Pranks 101” has the cast detailing pranks they’ve played, and there’s a blooper reel that might be funnier than the feature. There are also previews of other Paramount films.
The prequel that no one called for, turns out there was a reason for that. Even a nice amount of naked babes can’t make up for the copious amount of crap humor. This semester finds Van getting an F.